Louisville Courier Journal
Published 4:40 PM EDT Oct 25, 2019
A customer who was inside the Jeffersontown Kroger in October 2018 when Gregory Bush allegedly shot and killed two shoppers has filed a class-action lawsuit against the suspect and supermarket.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Jefferson Circuit Court on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the deadly attack, claims Denise Clark suffered "physical, mental and/or emotional injuries" as a result of witnessing and fleeing from the shooting.
Bush is facing murder and hate crime charges in state and federal court in connection with the Oct. 24, 2018, shooting that took the lives 67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones and 69-year-old Maurice Stallard, both black shoppers.
The families of Jones and Stallard have also filed lawsuits against Kroger and Bush, who is white and allegedly told one bystander that "whites don't shoot whites."
'There was so much hate': Louisville hasn't forgotten the Kroger shootings
Previously: Kroger now facing two lawsuits by families of 2018 shooting victims
Similar to the two suits from the Jones and Stallard families, the latest suit claims Kroger had no policy in place to prevent Bush from carrying and using a loaded firearm in its store.
In September, Kroger asked its customers to stop openly carrying guns in its stores following a string of mass shootings around the country.
As Clark stood at the customer service desk inside the Jeffersontown Kroger on the afternoon of the shooting, she heard a gunshot and asked a Kroger employee if it was gunfire, according to the lawsuit.
The employee responded that it was not gunfire, the suit states.
Clark then heard two more shots and saw
three men running toward the front entrance with Stallard's 12-year-old grandson, who witnessed his grandfather's death.
More: Here's where Kroger shooting suspect Gregory Bush's court cases stan
Clark then saw Bush and led a group of 15 to 20 people to the other side of the store, according to the suit.
Clark and her fiance, who works in the fresh food department at the store, exited the store along with others through a back office door. But once outside in the parking lot, the group heard more gunshots and ran back into the office, according to the suit.
Remembering Stallard: Kroger shooting victim was a family man
Vickie Lee Jones: Tears turned to anger for family of victim in Kroger shooting
The group then barricaded themselves in the office until first responders arrived and "prayed that the gunman would not find them," the suit claims.
The class-action suit invites others, with certain exceptions, who suffered physical, mental or emotional issues as a result of the shooting to join it.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and compensation along with a jury trial.
In a statement, a Kroger spokeswoman said while the Cincinnati-based company "cannot comment on pending litigation, we want to express our deepest sympathies to the families affected by this senseless violence."
Attorney Will Nefzger, who is representing Clark, told The Courier Journal that Kroger only offered Clark a $10 gift card after the shooting.
In addition, Nefzger said more than two dozen shootings have taken place at Kroger stores around the country since 1991, including a 2007 shooting at the same Jeffersontown Kroger.
"(Kroger) knew about these shootings happening, and yet no safety measures were taken whatsoever to protect their customers," Nefzger said. "They banned guns at their corporate offices, presumably for the safety of their corporate employees, but we've found no evidence of that at stores."
Bush's federal case is on hold as the state case moves forward. A Jefferson Circuit Court judge is expected to make a ruling on his competency to stand trial during an Oct. 31 hearing.
Update: Here's where the Kroger shooting suspect Gregory Bush's court cases stand
Reach Billy Kobin at [email protected] or 502-582-7030. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/subscribe.